Selma University head baseball coach Adrian Holloway has been named National Christian Collegiate Athletic Association (NCCAA) South Region Coach of The Year for 2017. The announcement was made at the annual Regional Meeting and Ceremony at Toccoa Falls College, in Toccoa Falls, Georgia, the site of the NCCAA South Regional Tournament.
Since 2010, his first season at Selma, Holloway has built the baseball program into a baseball powerhouse. The program is making its seventh straight playoff appearance, a program with only three prior postseason tournament appearances in its history before Holloway arrived. Going back home to his place of birth, the locals have embraced him for building the game he loved as a kid.
His hiring at Selma after playing collegiate baseball for four years at Alabama State University, Holloway has found what he wants in a program. He said part of what attracted him was that he grew up in the community which allows him to sell recruits on the values of a degree and being a student athlete.
Holloway’s commitment was not only his but an administration committed to getting better and getting the school back on track. “I felt like everything was in place except for baseball”, Holloway said. “We just needed to make the baseball program better.” He imports a championship culture and stays on his players all of the time to do better on the field and in the classroom.
In 2015, Coach Holloway stated after a South Region playoff game in West Palm Beach, Florida, “You got to know how to bring the best out of your players, because everybody is good in college baseball these days and they’re trying to be good. That leaves no room for error just to win a ball game.”
The 2017 season will go down as one of Holloway’s best coaching jobs. He had to replace the talent that revolted against him, the program and the institution. The program saw 14 of its top players depart, and it hurt fall-ball where Holloway’s job is to get kids to buy into his program.
The 14 really built up hostility toward the school and plotted against the baseball program which tore into the foundation Holloway had established since his arrival at Selma.
All 14 moved on and transferred. All of the uncertainties made for a strange fall off-season in 2016. Holloway spent more time recruiting during fall practice just to get players on the roster. What caused the player rebellion that hurt the program was playing time.
Selma finished the 2016 regular season with a 27-10 record. The last two games were loses in the NCCAA South Regional. After the opening round lost, Holloway changed his lineup. The 14 players were not happy with the changes and their roles on the team which led to a departure from the tournament. No one saw this coming. Six of the 14 have expressed regret because of their actions. The remaining 8 transferred to nearby Concordia College of Alabama and are fighting for playing time.
All of the off-field drama is behind the program. Holloway has gotten back on track to playing a stronger schedule and knocking off tough NCAA Division II and NAIA teams.
The Bulldogs worked hard to qualify for the playoffs and compete for a national title. Holloway stated “our goal is to compete for national titles each and every year.”
The team has come together. Each game there has been noticeable improvements. Selma is a young team. With only two seniors on the roster, Holloway credits freshmen Tariq Aaron, Robert Clark and Will Thomas. All three have thrown a ton of innings on the mound and kept them in ball games by shutting down opposing batters resulting in wins. Holloway, after each game, works on the mistakes in practice to get better. He’s seen the improvement and how well the young team is playing.
There are very few places in the country where you can take over the head coaching job and build it from scratch, call it your own, help upgrade the playing surface and insert turf in the batting cage. Literally everything there is his. He didn’t inherit a great tradition of baseball but his tenure is helping him build the program.